Bus depot and fleets question over franchising

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A recent parliamentary written answer has shed more light on the Buses Bill, after the shadow transport minister asked about the impact of franchising on competition where existing assets are retained.

Daniel Zeichner, Shadow Minister for Transport, asked: “With reference to the proposed Buses Bill, what assessment has been made of the potential effect on competition in the bus services market of bus operators retaining vehicle fleets, depots and other strategic assets when bus services are franchised?”

Andrew Jones, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Transport, responded: “The actual competition impacts will depend on how franchising is implemented at the local level.

“The Department’s high level assessment of the potential competition impacts of the Buses Bill proposals will be set out in the impact assessment which will accompany the introduction of the Bill. Individual local authorities will be better placed to conduct a detailed competition assessment of any changes they propose to make to their local bus market in light of the Bill.”

The shadow minister also asked: “In what specified format will the Buses Bill require data on routes, timetables, punctuality and fares to be published, and will this format differ from the format currently used by his Department to publish bus fares information?”

Andrew Jones said: “The Buses Bill will not specify the format in which the data on routes, timetables, punctuality and fares must be provided.

“The Bill would give the Secretary of State the powers to make secondary legislation to mandate the provision of data. The specific format of the data will be determined following discussions with industry in due course.”